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Project Sage information for parents “failed miserably”

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Letter to the Editor:

In regard to your recent article, and subsequent rumblings around town about Project Sage curriculum I would like to encourage parents to play an active role in their children’s education. For several years now Region 1 elementary schools have been bringing in content under the State guideline of “healthy & balanced living” framework that could easily be considered by some to be inappropriate in public school. 

The program curriculum is brought in and taught by counselors from a local organization called Project Sage, not Region 1 teachers. I find it reasonable to question the qualifications of these counselors. Their education has prepared them to determine school curriculum and best teaching practices of such? Also, what is the vetting process of these counselors? They are given direct access to our children for approximately eight weeks. The safety of our children is important.

The content of these teachings includes showing kindness, sympathy and empathy. They explore finding your identity and passions; discuss sexuality introducing vocabulary such as “anatomical sex, aromantic, asexual, biromantic, bisexual, cisgender, gay, gender binary, gender expression, gender identity, genderqueer/non-binary/bigender, heteroromantic, homoromantic, lesbian, romantic attraction, sex assigned at birth, sexual attraction, transgender.” These were taught along with a character called the “genderbread person,” which has recently been removed and replaced with a similar gender fluidity chart. Online safety, boundaries and relationships are also discussed.

The methods used to inform parents have failed miserably. Lack of or late emails with information are disheartening. They have personally failed my family on two occasions this school year. Teachings started for our children without our knowledge, opt-out forms were not sent in advance for consideration. For students that are opted-out, no alternative enrichment is afforded them. They are segregated from their peers and told to use this time as another study period. There is an exception to one class currently where a teacher has stepped up to provide math enrichment to those opted-out, I am so grateful to that teacher.

These are not academic teachings, they are not required teachings, they fall in a loose State guideline. These are social agenda issues that many parents wish to teach their children about themselves. The opted-out students should not be left to feel banished, and parents who choose to opt-out their children should not be made out to be terrible parents, or phobic of some sort. That is absurd! 

Of note, this was brought to the Board of Education for help as administration was not holding true to their promises. Many BOE members were unaware these teachings were even in our school. The discussion of these meetings have been grossly inflated by your article, but more so by the keyboard heroes of Facebook in the community who were not at the meetings. 

The former chair of the BOE should be ashamed of himself. He certainly has a lot to say now, but when approached over the last two years he did not want to engage in working with administration and concerned parents to come to a resolve. It should be known that he has not been in attendance at these current meetings. 

Bonnie Banffy

Kent

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